2009-11-19 / Front Page

Parent Of Sick Child Asks CF To “Step Up’’

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The father of a 7-year-old boy afflicted with an inherited genetic disorder called upon members of the Central Fulton School Board for assistance last week amid claims the child is being “neglected” by the school.

Todd Hershey stated his son has arrived home on numerous occasions after a day at school without having a proper snack between his mandatory dosages of cornstarch, which in its uncooked form provides a steady slow-release form of glucose.

Hershey’s son has been diagnosed with glycogen storage disease type 1 (GSD1), a rare liver disease where an individual’s body cannot break down sugar. Symptoms vary depending on the type of GSD, but typically involve low blood sugar, an enlarged liver, slow growth and muscle cramping.

Dietary changes are often instituted in those affected with GSD, according to reports. For instance, in children ages 2 and older, frequent small carbohydrate treats, that may include uncooked cornstarch, are given routinely throughout the day. In addition, foods that contain a high dosage of fructose or lactose may be totally eliminated from the diet.

According to Hershey, repeatedly forgetting to adhere to dietary guidelines could lead to matters much worse for his son, such as kidney failure or liver cancer.

“The other day his blood sugar was 70. It was rock bottom,” said Hershey. “I want to know who is responsible? ... I need someone here who is going to step up and say this is a serious condition and we’re going to take care of it.”

Hershey lauded the efforts of McConnellsburg Elementary Principal Alicia Mellott but pointed out she is only one person.

“When I go to work I shouldn’t have to worry if the boy is getting his snack or cornstarch. I need it taken care of one way or another. If I have to go above and beyond here I will,” said Hershey, who was accompanied to the meeting by fellow concerned parent Mark Peck. “ ... I’ve had just about enough of it.”

Retiring board member President Dennis Richards informed Hershey he appreciated his bringing the matter to the board’s attention. He assured Hershey it was indeed a “very serious” matter, and it would be properly channeled to and handled by staff.

Hershey also took the opportunity during his allotted three minutes of the public comment section to address handicapped accessibility concerns. While the lower entrance to the building is accessible, the front entrance has a cumbersome stair to navigate before the door buzzer can be sounded for office staff.

Mellott said she had already been in contact with Brent Seville, building and grounds supervisor, regarding eliminating the step. She added, however, the project would have to be tackled during summer months.

In other issues addressed during the November 10 meeting, the board followed the recommendation of its insurance carrier and approved the following administrators to serve on various boards within the community: Todd Beatty, Fulton County Services for Children; Alicia Mellott and Brent Seville, Central Fulton Educational Foundation; Dr. Julia Cigola, Tuscarora Blended Learning Charter School and Fulton County Partnership; and Dwayne Northcraft, Allegheny College of Maryland Foundation Board.

As a follow-up to the board’s previous work session, the board approved sharing the services of food service director Adam Carlson for the remainder of the 2009- 10 school year with the Tuscarora School District. The board will revisit the topic in February to determine if it wishes to continue forward with the agreement.

The board regretfully accepted the resignation of Paul Johnston, the district’s representative on the Fulton County Parks and Recreation Board of Directors. Johnston’s resignation is effective November 30, and the search is already under way for a replacement.

The 2010-11 school year will see the creation of a new life skills program in the high school. The district is slated to hire one instructor and one classroom aide to help operate the program, which was previously discussed during the board’s October full board work session.

First assistant basketball coach Denny Swope was bumped up to step five on the 2009-10 extracurricular activity scale based on his 15 years of coaching experience with the junior high basketball program. Swope’s salary was accordingly set at $2,970.

Approval was also granted to add a section on the district’s building usage form that will allow the district to recoup the expense of outdoor lighting. Cost has been set at $30 per hour for full sports complex usage; $15/hour for use of one field; and $5/hour for use of track lights only. The administration pointed out the cost for lighting could change periodically, though, given the rising cost of electricity and will need to be rechecked frequently.

The following individuals were added to the district’s professional substitute list after having completed emergency certification through Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11: Erica Sexton of Needmore and Joyce Mills, Waterfall. Mills’ approval is pending the receipt of clearances.

Resignation letters submitted by Tyler Keefer and Susan Sipes were accepted as presented. Keefer’s resignation is effective October 30, and Sipes will resign on October 23.

Jeffrey L. DeShong of Mc- Connellsburg was hired to fill a vacancy in the custodial department. DeShong is slated to receive $8.40 per hour for his duties.

Bonita Suders, also of Mc- Connellsburg, was added to the aide/cafeteria substitute list. Her clearances are in order.

Kathy Hedrick, cafeteria employee, is scheduled to go on Family Medical Leave. Her request and pertinent documents are currently on file in the district office.

Harrisonville resident Rebecca Shotts has been authorized to serve as a van driver.

In addition, the daily rate of #006 bus route contracted to Joycelene Strait was increased from $129.62 to $146.78 retroactive to October 28.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the board conducted an executive session to review personnel issues.

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